ATHLETICS: R&N produce strong show to maintain Midland League survival hopes

Adele Blenkinsop claimed a first and two second places
Adele Blenkinsop claimed a first and two second places

On a very busy weekend for the club, Rugby & Northampton AC produced a strong performance in the Midland League at Abingdon, finishing a strong third and only 25 points behind the winning hosts.

The team went into the match knowing that they needed a clear victory over rivals Stoke to ease the threat of relegation to division three.

On the day, the team claimed eight individual victories along with a host of personal bests to record their best performance of the season.

Pride of place went to Lily Mae Pursey who claimed a trio of victories in the hammer, shot and discus, including a huge PB of 39.59m in the hammer.

Ella Watford was another who had a busy day, winning the long jump with a PB of 5.38m, taking second in the high jump and then making her debut in the triple jump and taking fourth with a leap of 9.64m.

Abi Ward won the javelin, while the highlight of a busy afternoon for Harry Salt was his victory in the 100m hurdles.

Ollie Lambert won the 200m on his league debut in 23.4 secs while the men’s 4 x 100m relay team won with a 20 metre margin.

For the ladies, Emma Wilshire made the long journey from Cardiff to take second in the 100m along with fourth in the 200m and third in the B shot putt.

Lauren Nash took third in the 400H whilst Rhea Cooper ran a smart race to take fourth in the 1500m and Emily Coper and Tilly Lea tackled the 400 and 800m. Emily, Abi, Rhea and Tilly combined well to

finish third in the 4x400m relay.

The team were very short of B string athletes but Adele Blenkinsop and Maddie Wells stepped up to cover as many events as they could.

Blenkinsop won the long jump and claimed vital second places in the javelin and triple jump, while Wells did both sprints and the discus as well the 100mH and relay where the team finished third.

For the men, the team scored solidly across most events with John Moreland covering all four throws, he took second in discus, third in hammer and fourth in shot, along with thirdin the B string javelin.

Harry Salt added to his hurdles victory with third in the 100m, second in the B long jump and leading out the winning 4x100m team.

Busiest man on the day was Charlie Barker who tackled five individual events along with both relays. His best result was third in the high jump with a leap of 1.75, along with fourth in the 400m hurdles and a victory in the B string 100m hurdles.

Haydn Arnall and Richard Latimer combined to take second in the A and B string 1500m races.

Will Price just secured third place in a very close 400m race and Ben Lole secured his second PB of the week as he claimed fourth in the triple jump with a leap of 11.10m.

In the B string races, George Edwards claimed a trio of victories over 200m, 400m and high jump to record an impressive league debut.

Tom Wilcock also made his league debut taking fifth in the long jump and fourth in the 100m B race.

Finn Hutton also had a busy time, after struggling in the 400 and 800m B races he claimed a valuable third in the triple jump B, and then returned to form with a great leg in the 4x400m relay to help team to second place.

There was disappointment for pole vaulters Dave Cowley and Lee Woodward when the competition had to be abandoned when the bar was broken and a replacement couldn’t be found. The team was completed by Rhys James in the 800m and John Gercs who stepped in to cover the hammer and javelin.

Going into the final round at Stoke on August 4, the team are now lying fourth, with a two-point buffer over Stoke, so realistically they need to defeat Stoke again to be sure of avoiding relegation.